Raising a little one in a small farm town has its advantages, especially if your kiddo enjoys hay rides. Ellensburg is almost exactly in the center of Washington State, just east of the Cascade Mountains. There's plenty of room to roam in this rural community, yet it is big enough to offer some of the conveniences of living in a city.
If you have a budding athlete on your hands, check into the many sports programs for toddlers and preschoolers in Ellensburg. Rodeo City Gymnastics (rodeocitygym.com) offers recreational gymnastics classes for 2- to 5-year-olds developing eye-hand coordination and conditioning. The gym also provides a weekly open gym for toddlers. The City of Ellensburg (ci.ellensburg.wa.us) offers sports programs for toddlers. The Tiny Toy Basketball program is for 3- to 5-year-olds, teaching future high scorers the basics of dribbling, passing and shooting. The city also offers a classic Tiny Tot Tee Ball program, as well as Tiny Tot Soccer for the same age group.
Rather than having your tot bouncing off the walls at home, take him to the park where he can run, jump and climb. Kiwanis Park (no website; N. 'A' St and 14th Ave; 509-962-7211) is a small park with a play structure and open fields. Mountain View/Lions Park (no website; 1200 E. Seattle; 509-962-7211) is another option with playgrounds, picnic areas and playing fields. For a stroll through the wilderness, try Paul Rogers Wildlife Park (no website; 2400 Judge Ronald Road; 509-962-7211). The park is about 20 acres with trails, a walking path and wildlife-viewing areas.
3. Farm Exploring
As long as you keep your kiddo away from the pig sty, a farm visit might be the perfect way to spend a day. U Lazy U Farms (ruralbounty.com/details/389/u-lazy-u-farms) offers hay rides, corn mazes, farm animal viewing, a petting zoo, a playground and a pumpkin patch. Olmstead Washington State Park (parks.wa.gov) also provides a farm experience with a working pioneer farm that's open to visitors for touring -- and also offers a chance to participate in some farm activities.
4. Other Points of Interest
The Children's Activity Museum (childrensactivitymuseum.org) boasts many hands-on exhibits perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. The kiddos will likely enjoy the science exploration activities, as well as the musical instrument and kitchen exhibits. Ellensburg is also home to the Kittitas County Fair (kittitascountyfair.com) each year during Labor Day. Complete with carnival rides, games and all the typical fair treats, it's an exciting place for little tykes.
- Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images